Sunday, July 19, 2020

Inktober 2019 - a twist in the story

This blog post is a continuation, and hopefully, the last part of the Inktober 2019 series. If you are interested, you can check out my journey in my last two posts: Kdrama and Inktober 2019, prep work and beginning  and  Inktober 2019 - More on Kdrama and trailers.

Before we get started, let's check some facts and statistics. So far, I was doing good in terms of Inktober. Things were going as per expectations, especially considering work-load at the time. Select a theme that I am interested in- check. Make a list of topics to sketch - check. Try to reduce resistance to sketching - check. Then, suddenly, something happened. It was 2 Nov 2019, I was done with 23 sketches out of 31, a satisfactory number. Even though I exceeded the timeline, I did 21 in a month as opposed to about 4 to 5 in a month. That was not so bad! My main goal was to overcome paralysis of analysis and get to it, and I was improving on it! I could have finished the rest 8. But, something happened. I did not want to sketch any more. I just did not. Why? I am still trying to figure out. I did not even try. I just gave up, and I was not even guilty about it.

Time flew by, my project at work got completed successfully, I traveled to India and had an awesome trip, came back started working on some more projects, I continued sketching. And then COVID-19 pandemic started in USA. As the lock-down began, I decided to rearrange my art table, clean it up and set it up to sketch more regularly. And while doing so, I discovered something... one of the two lists of K-Drama characters I wanted to sketch. Somehow it clicked at that moment, I sat down and crossed all the characters I had already sketched. And I was determined to finish sketching the rest of the characters so that I can tick off the line in my todo list and finally dispose the post-it note. Just for the sake of crossing the lines in the post-it note, I obsessively worked on the sketches. I lay it at a noticeable part of my table, and got back to it whenever possible until I finished all of them eventually. I was so happy that I crossed off all the characters in that list! It was so satisfying!

Well, now I am excited to show you the sketches, and some interesting clips and trailers. Hope you enjoy them!

Strong Girl Do Bong Soon



 While You Were Sleeping




 Romance Is a Bonus Book



My ID is Gangnam Beauty


I felt as if this set of sketches were slightly better than the previous ones. I think I was able to draw the lines more confidently. The faces were slightly more accurate even though still not very similar. I still struggled with the beautiful conch-like eyes, and soft facial contours. In addition, I remember struggling with drawing the  hair, not knowing how far to keep going and where to stop at. I enjoyed the struggle too.  Overall, it was a fun learning experience. Now that I look at the set of sketches, I feel a sense of accomplishment. It is a good feeling to look at the album and see its completion. I do have another post-it note lying abandoned somewhere with a list of characters to sketch. Will I draw them again? Who know, may be... may be not.


How am I doing with Kdramas? I continue to explore more. I have discovered some interesting, and some not-so-interesting Korean dramas and movies. They span multiple genres, and often combine many genres together. Often, they have a romantic story going on, but they act more like protagonists of an underlying story. I am able to pick up words and phrases. I and my sister have started exchanging Korean words now :D I have found some great patterns and some not-so-appealing ones as well. So far they manage to keep me fascinated enough to keep exploring more.

With this, I end last years Inktober series. The exercise sure helped me deal with paralysis of analysis better. I do not have anything in mind yet about this year's Inktober. But I do have some interesting sketches to share and I am excited to share them!

Until then, take care and stay safe.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

More on korean drama, Inktober 2019, and trailers

Hey there. This post is a continuation of my previous blog post  korean-drama-and-inktober-2019-prep .  If you are interested, you can learn about my motivation and beginnings for doing Inktober,  decision to use my own theme, and choosing Korean drama characters as a theme in that post.

After hesitating for a while on whether to participate on Inktober or not, I  decided to give it a go. Having had not so great experience on following the standard themes for each day of sketching, I decided to draw and ink Korean drama actors this time. And, it paid off. I noticed that I offered less resistance to sketch every day. Even though I would skip a day or two here and there, I would not struggle to get back. On top of that, some of my impromptu sketching/journaling meetups with a few friends living nearby, gave the community-boost to come back to it regularly. It was overall a great experience. Although I had a list of 31 characters to sketch, I did not necessarily follow it and used it only as a fall-back mechanism.

I have displayed below some of the sketches from different series and their trailer as well. I am hoping to expose more people to Korean Drama :D :D They are from different genres and vary in the degree of realism. You can watch them on Netflix and Viki, if you are interested. Let's get started with the tour! We will talk more on the sketches after it :)

Suspicious Partner

Back to inktober after a week's gap #inktober2019 #inktober2019day14 #jichangwook #suspiciouspartner #koreandrama


Rookie Historian




Strong girl bong-soon



Legend of the blue sea

#inktober #inktober2019 #inktober2019day6 . #thelegendofthebluesea #kdrama #sehwa #junjihyun #shimcheong


Something in the rain



The tale of Nokdu

#kimsohyun as #dongdongjoo in #thetaleofnokdu #kdrama #peoplesketching #inktober2019





#healerahjumma #jominja #kimmikyung #healer #kdrama #koreandrama . #inktober2019day13 #inktober2019



#hanyojoo as #ohyeonjoo in #kdrama W #w #peoplesketching #inktober2019


While you were sleeping

#baesuzy as #namhongjoo in #kdrama #whileyouweresleeping #peoplesketching #inktober2019

Romance is a bonus Book

#leenayoung as #kangdani in #romanceisabonusbook #kdrama #peoplesketching #inktober2019


Oh My Venus!


So, here we are at the end of the tour! I hope you enjoyed it, and found some series to your liking to binge watch, especially during the pandemic. 

Now that the sketch tour and K-drama advertising is out of the way, let me share some of my experience about the sketches. I found the faces challenging right from the beginning. The Mongoloid facial structure is very different from Caucasian facial structure, thus forcing me to pay attention to different aspects of the face than I usually do. On top of that, I guess the high quality of Korean makeup also made the contours look much softer and smoother. It made it challenging to define the shapes in a face that lacked strong edges. I would constantly hold my pen on the tip, trying to draw a shape oh-so-lightly. I definitely struggled to achieve the accuracy of the faces, and butchered many faces.

Oddly enough, I enjoyed drawing the neck and collar a lot. Every time I would finish drawing the collar, I would feel an odd satisfaction. I enjoyed drawing the conch-shaped eyes also, of course; oh-so-lightly. Drawing the cheek shapes was hard. I had to make confident yet soft and light contours to make it right. Overall, it was a good and interesting challenge, a right mix of things I was comfortable with and things that were new. I enjoyed it. But...

.... towards the end of the series, I paused it suddenly. And did not bother to come back and finish it. Reason. None. Did I feel bad? Not at all. It is weird why I acted that way... why I did not care about finishing it when I was this close and was even enjoying it. I am still searching for an answer to that weirdness of mine.

However, ...

the story does not end here. There is a little more to it... coming up in my next blog post. Take care until then! 

Monday, May 4, 2020

Korean drama and Inktober 2019 - prep work and beginning

It is slightly weird to revisit this blog after a long time, especially because I had to recover a few logins. If you got a chance to read my previous posts, you might be aware of Inktober. Take a look at my Inktober journey in the year of 2018. [Inktober 2018 beginning   Inktober 2018 - cruising through  Inktober 2018 final journey ]

One of the habits I have been trying to develop is to sketch every day. There have been hits and misses, but I am consistently improving in forming the habit. I try to use Inktober as a catalyst to make the habit more regular. However, I kept finding the prompts given by Jake Parker uninspiring. At first, I thought they are not great prompts, but then I saw other artists' instagram posts with the same prompts. And I must say, they were amazing! It was just me then, huh. So, after my last Inktober series, I decided I would decide my own prompts or, may be do spontaneous sketches during Inktober next year.

Soon it was end of September in 2019. I was super busy at work. Although the project was interesting and had the right amount of challenges,  it did keep me busy and left me thinking about it 24x7. So, I hesitated quite a few times. After doing a  back and forth for quite a few times I finally decided to give it a shot. I want to use it to sketch regularly any way... I thought to myself. 

I threw the idea of spontaneously sketching something out of the window. I knew it would be less of a struggle if I had a set of prompts to pick up the idea from. What prompts should I select then, hmm? Kdrama actors don't sound like a bad idea! Then I took a few sticky notes and jotted down a few memorable characters I could instantly recollect. So, I had a list of prompts for 31 days ready. I think I can do it... yeah... I think so.

Well, Kdrama, how come? I am sure I am not the only one who finds shelter in binging on movies and series and youtube and netflix. Yeah, I know it is a problem. But while randomly exploring different movies and series, I ended up finding some asian dramas on netflix. I don't remember which one was my first one though. They have their flaws, but I found them interesting in many ways. And that's how my Kdrama journey began. I did watch a few Japanese, Thai and  Chinese dramas. I think, however, that Korean dramas manage to outshine them.  They  span many genres although like Indian movies romance is a predominant theme in many of them. They almost always have great cinematography, and a good story-line that explores different topics. They also do some cool stuff in terms of mixing genres elegantly. Characters are three-dimensional and even the most evil character has a perspective. Food is almost always an important character, with utmost importance given to their presentation, cooking, and eating. Often I regained my appetite after watching an episode, because they were eating and relishing food so well! They do vary in degree of realistic portrayal and you have to pick and choose based on your taste. 

Well, that's my intro of Kdramas to you just in case you did not know about them yet. Now let's get back to the inktober series. Well, I made a list of prompts. But did I follow them accurately? No. Knowing me, I knew I will soon be bored. So I picked a character that came to my mind as I sat down to sketch. Then, why was the prompt list for? It was supposed to be my backup, for days when I could not think of any character, or was too tired to do much decision making. Seemed like a good idea, so far...

So, let's get, set and go!

My first two sketches were of the lead actors in the series Goblin. Checkout the trailer below. I think I had recently watched it, so it was fresh in my mind and decided to sketch the lead actors.

Gong Yoo
I am reluctantly starting inktober this year due to busy schedule... my theme is Korean drama.. let's see how far I go. Day 1. A somewhat OK portrait of goblin. #gongyoo #kimshin #goblinkdrama #inktober2019
Kim Go-Eun (I loved the sketch by the way...)

 #inktober2019 #inktober2019day2 #kimgoeun #jieuntak #goblinkdrama 

It is considered one of the most loved Kdramas, known for fantasy, love story, music an bromance. But what was my biggest take away? I need to invest in good coats :D  If you have seen the drama, you know what I mean.

 Alright, this is good. It is a good start. I will share more about my journey in the next blog post!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

inktober 2018 - final journey - day 21 to day 26

This blog post is the last set of sketches I did for Inktober 2018.  You can find the first and second post on Inktober to see the sketches for prompts 1 to 10 and prompts 11 to 20, respectively. Here are the Inktober prompts suggested by Jake Parker for Inktober 2018.

yeah...So, I dragged myself until 26 October to reach up to sketch number 20. Then I did not want to sketch anymore. I told myself, "I will sketch the rest on my way back during the long flight". And that's what I did. The next 5 sketches are in flight, without much reference, and one after I reached my home. 

Let's get started!


"Again, why? Why this prompt? What do I do with it? Any way,  I have to draw it ...ugh. Let me draw a wash basin", I said to myself.  I tried to sketch a wash basin from memory/imagination, and water draining through it. It may sound silly, but I was apprehensive about drawing it, and was satisfied to see the sketch turn out convincing enough.

Some quick inktober sketches that I forgot to upload #draining #inktober2018 #inktober #sink


My imagination had decided to take a vacation when I tried to sketch for this prompt. I looked for expensive stuff I am wearing, and decided to sketch the ring that my sister had gifted me. I did hesitate a bit, 
"It is a tiny ring! What are you gonna sketch about it?" 
Then I thought, 
"Meh... You have to just finish the challenge. Just do it na, why bother?" 
"Ok, I will just draw it, and move on. Who cares."
"mmm.... may be I need to find something more interesting...."
"Nah, just do it, don't overthink." 

And here it is, a mediocre sketch of a ring.


I was happy that at least I was able to imagine something for this theme. It did turn out alright. This is one of the moments where I thought, I would not have sketched it otherwise, if not for Inktober. Now coming to think of it, what inspired this sketch? Definitely not real life. I guess, it is the countless scrolling through Instagram and browsing and cute boot pictures that shaped my imagination. Interesting.

Ok. Moving on...

24. CHOP

I was excited about this sketch. The prompt triggered a particular and a not-so-much-significant memory. I wanted to reproduce that memory in this sketch. A few years ago, one of my friends invited me to her rooftop barbecue party.  We all shared the cooking activities. (To be honest, I don't remember what I was doing, lol). I remember watching one girl chopping the greens to really tiny pieces with a big knife in such rhythmic way! It was a treat to watch her do it... I wanted to sketch that action. Is it good? Hell, no. The hand looks so odd and stiff. But am I happy to sketch it? Yes.


"Yeah... another ugly prompt. Why do I have to sketch it?", I started with resentment. But slowly good memories flowed in. When I was in 6th grade, I, my eldest sister, and my third sister ventured to our village. I don't remember why we were all going to our village without any adult, or what the occasion was. I remember we decided to walk from one point in our journey. At that time it seemed a long walk, but a walk that we all enjoyed thoroughly. As we marched along the up and down bila-hudas (ବିଲ  ହୁଡ଼ା - side-walks of agricultural lands) and through forests, orchards and ponds, we were having a great adventure. I remember, during our walk, we saw cactus flowers in full bloom for the first time in my life. They were so beautiful! 

Another memory was of one of the recent trips. I was in charge of the kids in the house.  I keep them engaged so that grown-ups can focus on their chores peacefully. Yeah! What a job! I took my nephew, and another relative of ours and set out for a few mini-adventures, and explored the farm lands and orchards. There were many tall cacti on our way. 

These memories kept coming in while I doodled away the sketch of the cactus plant from my imagination. My brush-pen was running out of ink, and that gave a nice shadow effect to my sketch. So it was an accidental success, which I am very happy about.



From the date I have put on the sketch, it seems that I did it after almost a month after my travel. I think I have copied it from one of the images that Google returned when I searched for "stretching up". Sketching the woman stretching up was a little bit of challenge. The posture was odd, not the conventional standing, or sitting poses. It challenged my sense of proportion, and I did quite a few trials before I could get the proportions right. Now, when I look at it, I notice the flaws. It makes me appreciate the figure/gesture drawing exercises more.

The next prompt was "thunder". 

"Really? It is a sound. How do you sketch a sound? Did you mean lightning? OK, I could sketch lightning."

"But in order to draw lightning, I need to paint the white page with dark ink before I could draw the lightning on top of it. Ah, that's too much of work."

I decided I will sketch them another time; they are only 5 sketches. Only, to never wanting to touch the sketchbook again. I somehow, did not want to go near it, even though I had laid it on table so that I could easily find it. As if the food had gone stale, and I never wanted to eat it again. I was done, but was not willing to accept it. Finally the new year eve came, and I made up my mind. "I am done, I am not gonna try to finish it. I did 26 sketches that I would not have done otherwise." 

Yes, this was my journey through Inktober 2018. Although I set out to complete 31 sketches, I ended up completing 26 of them, which was a good progress. It was a good learning experience for me. I will share about my lessons and take-aways soon!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Inktober 2018 - cruising through : day 11 to day 20

Continuing my journey of last Inktober blog post in which I shared my journey with the first ten Inktober sketches in 2018, today I am going to share my journey with the next ten sketches. On hindsight, I think I did some good sketches for the period from day 11 to day 20. Here is the Inktober 2018 prompts by Jake Parker for your reference.

Well, let's dive in!


I read the word "cruel" and I knew I wanted to draw Mother Gothel from the amazing Disney movie Tangled. Here is a clip if you want to have a sneak peek of the character, checkout this Youtube video. Checkout the movie trailer here. It is a great movie for kids and an entertaining one for adults; a visual treat for everyone for sure.

Coming back to the sketch, I quickly picked one of the images of Mother Gothel raging with anger. I was pleasantly surprised by the accuracy of the portrait I could achieve with little effort. I had a feeling that all these days of practice are paying off now and reflecting in my art works. It is a nice feeling to experience the effortlessness.


#whale ref. BBC Earth . #inktober2018 #inktober #day12whale

In school, I only knew that the blue whale or Nila Timi (ନୀଳ ତିମି) is the largest mammal in the world. It did look like fish.  But I did not know much about the animal until I watched Finding Nemo during college with my friends. I love the simple yet profound message that the clip conveys in this clip.

Wow, a theme is developing in this post. Lot of flashback, animation movies and good memories are coming back. In the movie it is portrayed that they are wise and helping creatures in contrast to sharks which are always portrayed as ruthless villains. Any way, fast forward to a few years, I started obsessively watching Planet Earth and other similar series by Planet Earth, and learned a little bit more about the whales.  I zeroed in this image because I felt fascinated by the energy, fun, and ecstacy of jumping in the water and I wanted to capture the moment. I had fun trying to sketch the lines, the waves, and the water droplets. Sketching the water droplets was an interesting challenge. I also feel satisfied by the look of the sketch, partially because I was sketching in this bright white notebook and liked the shine of the page.


Hundun . One of the furious fighters who guarded Tai Lung #kungfupanda #inktober2018 #inktober #day13guarded

I tried to search for an interesting picture for the term "guarded", but my mind kept going back to the 
guards of the huge prison in which Tai Lung was held captive in the Kung Fu Panda movie. I googled and ended up learning the name of the prisoner, "HUNDUN"! I was able to sketch the character pretty quickly, without much hassle, and it turned out nice, that too with the right expression. 

On a side note, Kung Fu Panda is a great movie filled with lots of fun and inspiration in addition to amazing visual storytelling. I love the concept that Master Oogway tries to convey when he says, "One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it." I have always been intrigued by it and keep going back to the message every now and then. I can not help but narrate the plot here. So, if you want to avoid being spoiled,  please skip the next paragraph.

Master Oogway reveals to his student Shifu that this mystery man called Tai Lung who has been in prison for long long time is going to be free. Oogway and Shifu are of opposite temperaments. Oogway is this cool zen-like person, whereas Shifu tries to control and fix everything. As soon as Shifu hears the news, he sends a messenger bird to tighten the security of the prison. The bird meets Hundun and other guards of the prison who are obviously too proud of their advanced security measures. They bully the bird and in the process, a feather of the bird falls in the fancy cage in which Tai Lung was locked in. This triggers the whole chain of events eventually freeing Tai Lung and creating havoc. I find it to be such beautiful and nuanced narrative of the situation. Had Oogway not told the vision to Shifu, had Shifu not tried to prevent the situation, none of this would have actually happened! Such a brilliant plot point and story telling!


#clocks of all times #inktober #inktober2018 #day14clock

Ok, although it is enticing, it is time to come back to real world. I did think drawing a clock tower would look nice, but I found it too boring. I thought of exploring the history of clocks and making a collage of different clocks over time. Even though it was not an artistically very challenging, it was an interesting collage making process.

15. WEAK

I love this quote from the amazing Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi #inktober2018 #inktober #day15weak @authoramish #shivatrilogy #thesecretofthenagas #quotes #caligraphy

The term "weak" reminded me of this quote from beautiful trilogy called Shiva Trilogy by Amish Tripathi. I absolutely love this quote. It makes so much sense to think people in terms of strong or weak instead of good or bad. We all want to be good, we all want to think that we are good, and bad people are others, and often out there somewhere. But is that true? No. Will our ego allow us to see the bad in ourselves easily? Difficult. So, instead if we ask ourselves, "Am I being strong or weak?", won't we get a better perspective of things? Let's do it now onwards. Let's ask ourselves every now and then, "Am I being strong or weak?"

On a slight diversion towards the story, Amish does a great job of bringing Hindu mythology and our ancient history to Indian youth in a beautiful way. Although there is general critic on his writing style, Shiva trilogy tries to make Indian youth curious about Indian history, heritage, mythology; and does a great job at that. Even though it is about Shiva and Sati, who are essentially Hindu deities, the narrative is pretty secular, and I encourage people from all religions to read it. It is a beautiful invitation to explore our rich past, and shape our future.  It is a fantasy, not a history. But it will successfully take you into a beautiful journey that will give you glimpses into the glorious past of the ancient civilization called India, and will leave you wanting to know more, and wanting to feel proud.

Now, back to ground work. I liked the calligraphy.  Every time I write some nice quote, I tell to myself, "I need to take calligraphy lessons." and that never happens. The page looked empty after the writing, and I wanted some theme to be present in the background. I searched for Tibetan Buddhist monks, zeroed in one of the images, and sketched it. I liked the faded appearance of the background that is actually a foreground. The sketch makes our attention to constantly shift between the text and the image. I felt excited about the effect. Now coming to thing of it, I should do more sketches/paintings of similar theme. 

On that note, let's move on to the next theme of Inktober.


Conservation of angular momentum during spinning LoL #angularmomentum #physics #day16angular #inktober2018 #inktober #iceskating

I was annoyed by this term. "Do you call it a theme?",  I thought. I even looked at the instagram posts shared by other people for the day 16's theme. Nothing resonated.  The word "momentum" kept tagging itself with the word "angular". So I decided I will sketch something about angular momentum. I was thinking of a geometric diagram, but I found this nice sketch of an ice skater spinning and trying to adjust her body in order to conserve angular momentum. So here it is! Thank God, it was not as boring experience as I had expected.


Swollen feet, based on my recent travel experience #swollenfeet #feet #inktober2018 #inktober #day17swollen #feet

I was traveling a lot in those days, and my feet were getting swollen easily because of constant sitting. It was a funny experience, it did not hurt, but it did not feel alright either. So I googled for the images of swollen feet and quickly sketched one. It was again an easy sketch; it did not require a lot of effort or emotional engagement; but it definitely captured my mildly annoying experience.


#bottle #inktober2018 #inktober #plasticbottle #day18bottle

"Who on earth gives a theme called bottle! Are you mad?" This is what I thought when I read the theme. I just put the plastic bottle near my bed on the table and quickly traced the structure. Boring and frustrating like anything. Ah. Then I look for others' posts, and people have done such amazing jobs for this stupid mundane theme called "bottle"! Look here!

I felt ashamed. Perhaps, I was not motivated enough, perhaps I was just trying to reach the deadline and not really create anything, perhaps I was letting the general stress around me suppress my creativity.


Scorched farm land during drought #inktober2018 #inktober #drought #day19scorched

 I wanted to capture the scorched land in summer. After a quick search online I zeroed in this image. I was expecting to see images from India, but I was surprised to see similar situations in Brazil as well. My ink pen was running out of ink, and this unknowingly created a nice effect. It did take a little bit of mechanical effort, but turned out to be alright in the end. I don't feel proud of this sketch in particular, but it feels nice to have done something I would have never attempted otherwise.

OK, moving on to the last sketch of the post, if you are still with me this far.


#matkiphod #inktober2018 #inktober #day20breakable

I don't remember my search process for this Matki Phod event. But I am happy to try out this sketch even though it is a little bit messy. Drawing the sprouting water from the matki (earthen pot) was an interesting challenge.  Here is a quick narrative about the history Matki Phod events for those who do not know about it.

Krishna (a Hindu deity) loved butter so much that, he would gang up with his kid friends and try to sneak on everyone's house and try to break open the earthen pots containing butter that were safely stored high above ground.  People in western India celebrate this naughty nature of him, by organizing Matki Phod (break the pot) events on Krishna's birthday (Janmashtami or Bhadrava Krushna Ashtami, or the Ashtami or 8th day of Krushna Paksha or the waning moon in the month of Bhadrava, the 5th month in Hindu lunar calendar). Young people form a pyramid and try to break open the pot hanging high above the ground. I have never attended any such event, but seen a lot on TV, and I am sure this would be a fun and energetic event.


Well, that's it! If you stayed with me until now, thank you for your patience! This post did turn out to be a reference to many books and movies and also brought back many nostalgic moments to me. Looking back, it was a nice experiment in which I sketched stuff I would not have cared to sketch or explore otherwise.  But I must confess, I kept feeling frustrated by mundane themes and also felt bogged down by the whole exercise of sketching in order to just achieve a deadline.

That's all for today; will get back soon with the last phase of Inktober 2018!